This article is about all types of games in general. For games played on a consumer electronic, see Video game. For other uses, see Game (disambiguation).
Ancient Egyptian ivory game board in the exhibition of Tutankhamun’s treasure in Paris (2019)
Ancient Egyptian gaming board inscribed for Amenhotep III with separate sliding drawer, from 1390 to 1353 BC, made of glazed faience, dimensions: 5.5 × 7.7 × 21 cm, in the Brooklyn Museum (New York City)
The oldest full deck of playing cards known, the Flemish Hunting Deck, c. 1475–1480, paper with pen, ink, opaque paint, glazes, applied silver and gold, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art from New York City
Children’s Games, 1560, Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Gaming table, circa 1735, wood and ivory marquetry, overall: 78.7 x 94 x 54.6 cm, Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, Ohio, US)
The Card Players, an 1895 painting by Paul Cézanne depicting a card game, in Courtauld Institute of Art (London)
A game is a structured form of play, usually undertaken for entertainment or fun, and sometimes used as an educational tool. Games are different from work, which is usually carried out for remuneration, and from art, which is more often an expression of aesthetic or ideological elements. However, the distinction is not clear-cut, and many games are also considered to be work (such as professional players of spectator sports or games) or art (such as jigsaw puzzles or games involving an artistic layout such as Mahjong, solitaire, or some video games).
Games are sometimes played purely for enjoyment, sometimes for achievement or reward as well. They can be played alone, in teams, or online; by amateurs or by professionals. The players may have an audience of non-players, such as when people are entertained by watching a chess championship. On the other hand, players in a game may constitute their own audience as they take their turn to play. Often, part of the entertainment for children playing a game is deciding who is part of their audience and who is a player. A toy and a game are not the same. Toys generally allow for unrestricted play whereas games come with present rules.
Key components of games are goals, rules, challenge, and interaction. Games generally involve mental or physical stimulation, and often both. Many games help develop practical skills, serve as a form of exercise, or otherwise perform an educational, simulational, or psychological role.
Attested as early as 2600 BC, games are a universal part of human experience and present in all cultures. The Royal Game of Ur, Senet, and Mancala are some of the oldest known games.